Sunday, 20 January 2013

Chapter Forty-Eight: Vibrant Scales

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It was the next morning when the sun shone through the slit of the curtains in the room Khushi was staying in. Feeling the massaging warmth against her face, Khushi's slumber slower roused awake, stretching her arms and legs in a dinosaur-like fashion. Sitting up in the middle of her bed with messy hair, she rubbed her eye with a hand and felt Raja nuzzling her jaw in a greeting manner. She smiled fondly as her eyes were still closed, refusing to open just yet. Morning Raja. She cracked open her eyes weakly to look at him staring at her with his tongue out happily. What shook her out of her sleep however, was the opening and shutting of her wardrobe. She focused her eyes on who was making that noise. 

Madhu turned to Khushi with a bright grin: " Titaliyaaa!?!? Come. Up now young lady! This is a first for you sleeping in for an extra hour. Hmmm?"
Khushi's eyes widened. What!? She snapped her head to the side to look at the clock on the wall. She had slept in. Khushi sighed leaning her back against the lavish wooden head board of the bed. I must have stayed up too late. After coming back from Kushal and Devayani's room the previous night, Khushi had thought long and hard about how to get Kushal to come to terms with the reality of now, instead of dwelling in the past. She had to also explain to Arnav that his grandfather did approve of her...but is just scared to embrace it.

It was then Khushi frowned actually noticing what Madhu was doing. She was packing her bags.

Khushi removed the covers and got out of bed confused. She walked up to Madhu making her stop to see her expression. 
Madhu smiled: " Oh! *holding Khushi by her forearms* I was thinking that the Raizada's have been very kind letting us stay while you recover Khushi. *touching her cheek* But now that you're all better titaliya...we shouldn't outstay out welcome here."
Madhu went back to packing away clothes leaving Khushi in thought. She looked down remembering that she was only staying here, becuase Devayani had insisted for them to stay.  Even though she was slightly disappointed that they were leaving, she knew her Buaji was right. Madhu noticed the slump expression on her niece's face and smiled shaking her head.
Madhu cheerfully: " Arreee Sanka Devi... Why the frown? *laughs* We live at the cottage not at all far from here silly girl...Anyways it wouldn't be right to stay here like this. "
Arnav firmly: " And it would be very rude of you to leave like this Buaji. "

As Khushi and Madhu looked at the door to see Arnav stood in a dark indigo pullover on a black trousers & shirt, with his sleeves rolled up. Raja barked from the bed happy to see him. Arnav walked in room seriously looking over the bag, now half full. He clenched his jaw before calming himself down, and looking at Madhu sincerely. 
Arnav gently: " Buaji, you and Khushi shouldn't leave. "
Madhu smiled: " Babwa. I know you and Maaji have done a lot for us, however I think it's best we leave."
Arnav gritted: " Did Dada say something?"
Khushi stared at Arnav with a harsh frown. How-...How could he just assume that-
Madhu confused with a smile: " Of course not Babwa. Why? Anyways it's because Khushi is much better now see. And you must understand that we'd be missing our little cottage terribly."
Arnav eagerly: " Isn't this house like home to you both Buaji?"
Madhu looked at Arnav perplexed: " Why are you asking such odd questions Babwa? *laughs* Of course it is, however there is no valid reason in my opinion for Khushi and I to stay."

There was silence in the room for a while with Khushi feeling slightly out of breath seeing the table tennis of questions and answers between the two in front of her. The eerie silence was broken when Arnav turned to her.
Arnav: " Khushi? Why don't you and Raja go and have breakfast. Chinky and Di are in the conservatory. "
Khushi stared at Arnav oddly. Arnav looked back at Khushi and Raja strictly.
Arnav: " Khushiii...go!"
Khushi jumped a bit and rushed off out the room, with Raja following suit, leaving Madhu and Arnav in the bedroom. 

~

Madhu sat on the bed in shock: " In front of everyone?"
Arnav sat beside her nodding.
Madhu continued lost: " You've even given her Muskaan's ring?"
Arnav sighed as Madhu had repeated this now for the third time: " Yes Buaji. I have....I don't want you to think I haven't taken your permiss-"
Madhu shook her head thoughtfully: " No babwa. You have taken my permission that day you took my blessings....but this fast? *teary*"
Arnav turned to her concerned as Madhu continued: " I never knew I'd see the day again that my little titaliya would be getting married to someone who was worthy of her. *looking at Arnav stroking his hair* And you are, Arnav. I could never be more proud of my Khushi's life partner. *pausing her smile* but I'd be lying if i said I still don't worry about-"
Arnav sternly: " I know everything about that day Khushi left this house Buaji. I know Dada did it."

Madhu looked at Arnav with shocked wide eyes. Arnav nodded curtly confirming. 
Arnav: " But I also want you to know Buaji that I will never leave Khushi's side. I don't care if Dada is with me or not for this decision. He can come round later in his own time, however I'm not wasting what I have of now just to wait for him."
Madhu quietly: " Arnav Babwa?...Do you know what you're saying? Your going against your elders-...No one will be happy in this marriage, especially Khus-"
Arnav: " Khushi will be the most happiest woman on earth Buaji. I promise you *holding her hands tightly* Dada will come round with Dadi's help, but please don't stop me from marrying Khushi. Please. "
Madhu looked down at the desperation Arnav was putting across and couldn't help but agree with him. 

Arnav: " Thank you Buaji...but I have one more request. Can you and Khushi please stay-"
Madhu smiled: " You ask now too much. I know you would...like to spend as much time as possible with Khushi, however it's for after marriage young man."

Arnav sighed disappointed, before after a minute he heard Madhu laugh quietly to herself. He looked at her curiously.
Madhu smiled fondly looking at him in awe: " You know...you are just like your father. I had to explain to him too that he couldn't spend lots time with Muskaan after their engagement, as all that comes after marriage. And you know what? His reaction was exactly the same to yours. *laughs*"
Arnav grinned chuckling. He could imagine his father like that and Dada always did say how head over heels in love he was with Maa. Must run in the genes I guess. He decided to push his luck anyways. 
Arnav: " Can you both at least stay til the marriage date fixed?"
Madhu laughed out load while getting up to put Khushi's clothes back: "Ohhh alright. *strictly* But only til then. After the date is fixed, Khushi and I go back to the cottage. Understood? *raising an eyebrow*"
Arnav had no choice but to nod before getting up to leave the room before she changed her mind. What she didn't ask is when I'm going to get the priest in to even fix a date. *sigh* You still got it ASR.

~

Anjili grinned enthusiastically: " We're here!"

After a few days with Khushi and Madhu staying over, upon Arnav's insistence, Anjili, Khushi and Chinky had arranged for a Lunch picnic for everyone, to the quiet lake on the outskirts of the forest nearby. It was a very open area with the most lushest green grass, perfect for the sun rays to lay upon.

The three young ladies made sure everyone was free from work or house chores, so no one had any excuses. Thankfully the skies were a sound blue tone making Khushi smile as she got out the white SUV in a teal blue churidar. Raja zipped out straight after loving the new fresh surrounding. Khushi grinned at her Raja's play and looked back at Anjili and Chinky just coming out the SUV too. The girls wanted it to match in color today. Chinky was wearing a blue light long salwar, while Anjili wore a baby blue sari. They even insisted for Devayani to join in on their color matching antics.

With summer hats and baskets full of food, they three girls went slightly ahead towards the river banks ahead, near the lake. Their eyes searched excitingly to pick the perfect spot to lay out the picnic. Aman grinned, in his white shirt and dark jeans with two fishing rod cases, ran after them. Madhu clambered out muttering 'Haire Nandkisore' every other minute. Devayani smiled watching them go and looked beside her at Kushal who was looking round in a daze. He remembered this place like the back of his hand. He always brought the family here for picnics and outings...before Muskaan died. It was their favorite outing. It was only because of Anjili's stubbornness that Kushal agreed to come along today. He sighed through his nose, before walking with his wife.

It was then Arnav got out the SUV driving seat, watching Khushi run far ahead in the distance. In his chocolaty  maroon shirt and dark blue denim jeans, his lips curved slightly into a smile remembering faintly the times they had come here before. With his hands in his pockets he followed the others in thought of why Khushi had insisted this place when Anjili told her about it. 

~

With everyone sat accordingly in a circle on the white and red checkered blankets, food was soon handed round with everyone tucking in at their own pace. Sat under a shady tree, the cooling winds aided them from the heat in the air. Khushi, feeding Raja, could feel Arnav's warm glances at her from the other side of the circle. Glancing up secretly, Khushi's eyes widened and mouth opened to see Arnav shamelessly wink at her sexily. She quickly flickered her eyes round the circle confirming no one was watching, before shyly looking away. Arnav grinned mischievously before popping another morsel of food into his mouth.

Khushi smiled lightly before noticing Chinky blushing away beside her. Khushi discretely looked across beside Arnav to see Aman was doing the same as Arnav. She rolled her eyes, before nudging Chinky with a raised eyebrow. Chinky immediately felt caught by her friend and blushed hard, making Khushi grin and hug her gently. 

Anjili piping up: " Good thing Khushi thought about this picnic today. Tomorrow Dada and Chote have that meeting tomorrow don't you?"
Arnav hmm-ed under his breath to end the topic. Kushal noticed this. 
Madhu looking around: " It's more beautiful than I have imagined this place. Muskaan used to talk about this place a lot when she used to come round. "
Devayani fondly: " Yes. This place was dear to all of us. I'm glad we came today."
Anjili grinned with her eyes wide: " Dadi?! Do you remember when Maa tried to catch fish here? *laughs* She kept failing at first, but Dada made sure she didn't give up."
Kushal softly: " And then she finally catch one...a great whopper fish too. "
Anjili smiled glad her Dada spoke: " Yeah...we took a picture then. The five of us."
Kushal looked up at Anjili with a slightly smile: " It was the six of us betiya. Your mother always said that every time we took a family photo Abhi would always be there too. However, it was only her who could see him... "

It was oddly quiet for a second as everyone smiled at Kushal's words fondly. Khushi was more than that. She was grinning ear to ear. She wondered what more storied were there through Kushal's eyes. She was so intrigued. Arnav however realized then why Khushi had insisted this place for the picnic. He jaw tightened. Thinking about Kushal's thoughts of Khushi and stood up finishing his lunch and took one of the fishing rods, before storming to the wide river close by. Sitting down on the grass, he whipped his bait and hook in the water and gripped the handle tightly. How dare Khushi do this to make Dada happy!?! It was a few days ago when Khushi tried to convince him that his Dada wasn't in the wrong, but he blocked his ears with cement. Even though she bloody knows what he thinks of her she-...Why does she think she has to make him happy to get accepted!? Why should she!?

Kushal realized his words taking in everyone's expressions and stood up abruptly. Devayani frowned.
Devayani: " You haven't finished your food-"
Kushal roughly taking the other rod, headed towards Arnav's direction muttering: "I'm not hungry."
He sat a long arm's width away from Arnav's sitting spot and flung in his bait and hook too, staring at the water angrily. Devayani and the others watched the two raging men sitting with their backs to them, hurt. She shook her head at her husband's behavior and smiled reassuringly at the others. Khushi however was the most upset by the distance put by Kushal and Arnav. She simply prayed for all to go well today.

~

Everyone else was in the mists of their chitter-chatter on the blankets about Muskaan and Abhi, while Arnav and Kushal remained beside the river. Both not sharing even a word to each other and both still with no sign of a single catch. But suddenly out of the blue...

Arnav frowned feeling a strong tug on his line: "Shit I got one.."
Kushal's amazed as his line had also become tight: "My word...I got one too!"
Both men hung on to their rods and the line was tight, with their heels digging into the ground, each used their tactics to loosen and then tighten the line to reel the fish in, however neither of their fishes weren't going without a fight. Everyone from the blankets noticed the load banter between the two near the river and could see two tug of wars going on. They immediately got up and went over beside them. Devayani smiled to see them both looking like their having a great time.
Aman stared at the water in shock: " Bhai!! I think it's a big one!"
Arnav grinned: " This is definitely a big one Aman!!"
Kushal chuckled struggling with his own: " Keep it on the line boy! Or else you'll lose it!"
Arnav laughed: " You focus on your own one Dada. Or else you'll lose yours!"
Kushal chuckled with a smirk: " Oh-ho!! So you think you can beat your own Dada Chote!? "
Arnav smirked loosening the line again for the fish to run a bit: " Beat you in golf didn't I!?...Why not fishing?"

Anjili rolled her eyes with a smile at the two men continued to talk hot shot, while focusing on reeling in their fish.
Anjili: " Allow it Chote. Dada is the best when it comes to fishing. Come on Dada!!"
Devayani laughed: " Your Dada was once a great fisher, but I think my Chote will have the edge today. "
Kushal sighed loudly with a teasing grin: " My own wife against me! How could you? "
Devayani smiled brightly taking Arnav's side by sitting beside him, as Madhu, Aman and Chinky did to.
Chinky excited: " Bhaiya! Come on Bhaiya!!"
Madhu: " Haire Nandkisore!! Babwa! Be careful!"
Khushi grinned while Raja barked watching the teams battle it out. She went to sit beside Anjili on Kushal's side and clapped her hands as Anjili was for him to win. Raja barked being on Kushal's side with Khushi. There was suddenly a moment where Kushal nearly let go of his rod, becuase of the strength of the fish, but Anjili and Khushi immediately held on to the rod to help him grab better hold of it. Kushal grinned.
Arnav totally concentrating on his bite: " Dada, you are not winning this! I got 4 supports on my side. And you only got three! Plus you taught me everything you know! *grinning*"
Kushal smirked looking at his grandson briefly: " Not everything young man. Or else the headmaster would be called the student too."

The atmosphere of cheering and clapping was uplifting and exhilarating, making Kushal become lost in the times before when he came here with the family. It was then after a few more chanting of the teams on both sides, when Kushal pulled a fast move to finally bring out the humongous fish on the end of the line. Anjili and Khushi clapped, while the others gasped at their victory. Kushal laughed out loudly and reeled the flapping fish in, looked across to his grandson with a raised eyebrow.
Kushal grinning: " Seee! Challenge your old man and you shall lose Chote.* Laughing* And with my two betiya's by my side, of course I would win! Impossible for me not to!"

Arnav's rod went flying in the water causing a huge, noisy splash. Kushal snapped out of the moment and took in the stuck faces on Madhu and Arnav. Everyone else had also faded into quietness staring at Kushal by his choice of words. Khushi felt a relieving sigh rush through her. Devayani in pure happiness was lost for words.

Kushal however felt immediately defensive as he set down the fish to let it go and left his rod by the side. He abruptly stood up tall making the smiles among them fall.
Kushal cleared his throat: " That's..er...enough for today, don't you think...."
He then left leaving mostly everyone wanting him to stay back, but were slightly scared to. Arnav watching Kushal leave, angrily turned to stare at the river. Of course! Too bloody good to be true!! He then got up too, furiously and shot off in the opposite direction for a walk to clear his head.

Slowly everyone got up feeling disappointed, while Khushi still staring at Kushal in the far distance held that soft smile on her face. It seems like everything did turn out for the better...even if it was a tiny step better.

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x

7 comments:

  1. Beautiful update...outing was amazing...I didn't want this chapter to end...plz update soon!!! :)

    Jina (rainyday3000)

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  2. Oh this was such a beautiful update!!

    Zee this one was like supa supa cute!! So khushi is on! She has already started to do her best to get kushal out of the past!!

    And aww Madhu n arnavs tall was fun witty n sweet at places respectively!! N lol hes Asr gets what he wants!!

    I was right changing Kushal is oso easy but def not convincing Arnav! N those picnic moments were fun!! Be it ArShis silent exchanges or chinky n amans!

    N den d fight! I simply loved it! Beautifully written!! N arnavs reaction was so natural when u hear something from some one totally unexpected this is what happens! Mind blowing!

    Im happy for khushi n im sure Arnav will understand soon! N Kushal will come out soonish too!

    Cheers

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  3. Loved the update... I'm happy that Kushal is expressing his feelings more and more... the two hot-shots will come together in time...

    valeyrie - IF

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  4. super cute....i love this story

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  5. Awesome update Zara,
    I love how Khushi is silently supporting Kusahl and Kushal he is unknowingly expressing his feelings infront of every one..
    Loved there family outdoor picnic

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  6. thankfully Arnav convinced Buaji to stay back

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  7. Khushi is always Khushi she knows how to bring smiles on peoples faces

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